Climate talks kick off in Bali

Delegates from about 190 nations gathered in Bali on Sunday to try to build on a "fragile understanding" that the fight against global warming needs to be expanded to all nations with a deal in 2009.

Climate talks kick off in Bali
The UN's top climate change official told thousands of delegates that the eyes of the world would be on their December 3 to14 talks in an Indonesian beach resort, saying time was running short to avert ever more droughts, heatwaves and rising seas.

"We're already seeing many of the impacts of climate change," Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, told a news conference in the tightly guarded venue.

"We are on a very dangerous path," he said.

The meeting, of senior officials with environment ministers at the final days, will try to launch negotiations ending with a new UN climate pact in two years including outsiders led by the United States and China, the top greenhouse gas emitters.

So far, only 36 industrialised nations in the Kyoto Protocol have caps on greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, running to 2012. Most governments agree on a need for more action but disagree about how to share out the burden.

"More discussions will be needed to build on this fragile understanding and explore how it can be put into practice," according to a UN report to be submitted in Bali.

The report, summing up two years of talks about new ways to fight climate change, said some countries were willing to make deeper cuts in emissions, others said existing promises should be kept and still others wanted incentives to join in.

"We heard no dispute that developed countries need to keep taking the lead," wrote Howard Bamsey of Australia and Sandea De Wet of South Africa, the authors of the report.

Prospects for a global deal have been boosted by a decision by President George Bush for the United States to take part beyond 2012. Bush opposes Kyoto as a threat to U.S. economic growth and said it unfairly excluded goals for poor nations.

"We'd like to see consensus on the launch of negotiations. We want to see a Bali roadmap," said Paula Dobriansky, US Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.

"We will go to Bali with openness, flexibility," she said.

The United Nations wants a new global pact to be agreed at UN talks in 2009 in Copenhagen. Many countries are likely to want to see the policies of the next US president taking office in Jan 2009 and want assurances of aid.

De Boer said Bali's goal was to agree to negotiate a successor to Kyoto, leaving details for later.

"Millions of people around the world...will be focusing their attention on what is going to be the response of the politicians," he said.

Senior Beijing officials told Reuters last week that China would do more to strengthen its existing domestic targets to improve energy efficiency, and thereby curb greenhouse gas emissions, if the West shared relevant technologies.

"If help is forthcoming, if international cooperation is as it should be ... we will definitely do more," climate change negotiator Yu Qingtai said.

Rich nations want developing nations at least to brake the rise of their emissions - China is opening a new coal-fired power plant at the rate of more than one a week.

And developing countries will push for a new system of credits to help slow the rate of deforestation. Trees store carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, when they grow.

Kyoto's first period will run out in 2012 but the United Nations says that a new accord needs to be in place by the end of 2009 to give time for parliaments to ratify.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Aralık 2007, 14:36
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